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The CLOSER Discovery team presented at this year's IASSIST conference (30 May - 2 June).

About the conference

The theme of this year’s IASSIST conference was ‘Diversity in research: social justice from data’.

For more information about the conference, please visit the IASSIST 2023 website.

Program Chairs

  • Jonathan Bohan, Cornell University, USA
  • Kevin Manuel, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada
  • Anja Perry, Gesis, Germany

CLOSER’s presence at the IASSIST 2023

The CLOSER Discovery team were involved in a panel discussion and ran a training presentation at the conference. Further details can be found below:

Panel discussion
Metadata Provider Perspectives on Longitudinal Data Harmonisation
Jon Johnson

Data harmonisation allows data collected by different studies or at different time periods to be more similar and comparable. Whether this is done retrospectively or prospectively the data for a particular harmonisation will often be constrained by the specifics of the research question.

Data providers, or metadata providers have a wider role in assisting a large number of potential users of the data, to discover data items which are or could potentially be comparable in a range of unspecified scenarios. Such an undertaking requires a shift in perspective from “harmonised data” to “harmonisable data” and constructing a generic framework to enable that to be carried out in a sustainable and scalable way.

The panel discussion brought together the experiences of a number of data and metadata providers and a software provider currently working to create such discoverable resources.

Collectively the panel spoke on a range of social science domains, political science, mental health, aging studies and multi-purpose cohort studies on how these challenges can be addressed using the DDI-Lifecycle metadata standard.

  • Moderator: Dr Barry T. Radler [Barold Freeman Consulting]
  • Panel:
    • Sanda Ionescu [ICPSR]
    • Jeremy Iverson [Colectica]
    • Jon Johnson [CLOSER, Social Research Institute, UCL]
    • Nancy Kassam-Adams [Child Trauma Data Archives, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia ]
    • Lucie Marie [Center for Socio-Political Data, Sciences Po]


Developing metadata management training: Experiences and future plans
Hayley Mills, Becky Oldroyd & Jon Johnson

CLOSER is the interdisciplinary partnership of leading social and biomedical longitudinal population studies (LPS), the UK Data Service and The British Library. Our mission is to increase the visibility, use and impact of longitudinal population studies, data and research. One of our areas of focus is training and capacity building for researchers and those running LPS, with a particular focus on filling gaps in current provision.

We currently offer a free, online educational resource introducing the basics of LPS, data and research. The CLOSER Learning Hub contains learning modules, including ‘Understanding metadata’, animations, research case studies and teaching datasets, and is used by several thousand users every month. This is complemented by a programme of training events including research methods, data analysis, and metadata management.

There is a plethora of excellent resources for students and researchers related to Research Data Management (RDM), but the availability of metadata management training aimed at early career professionals or for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is limited.

In this presentation we discussed our experiences and user feedback from the in-person metadata management training events which have been delivered, and how this is shaping our future training offer. We outlined our approach, progress to date, and potential opportunities. We are open to exploring collaborations with others who have experience or a similar vision in delivering metadata management training.

Download the Developing metadata management training: Experiences and future plans slides [PDF]